More Memory or an SSD?

It’s long been established that adding more memory to your Mac can improve its performance dramatically; dollar for dollar it’s still the most cost-effective upgrade you can make. But with the advent of the Solid State Drive (SSD) many arguments have been made that this new arrival is the new king of the upgrades.

While we’d love to sell you both more memory and a new SSD, sometimes that’s just not within your budget. You need the best bang for your upgrade buck.

Ferreting out the best upgrades you can make for your Mac is just the sort of thing our friend Lloyd Chambers of Mac Performance Guide goes into with his latest article: a case study on upgrading the 2010 MacBook Pro for Photoshop and Lightroom use. It’s an informative read and, even though the data itself is focused on the 2010 MBP, the concepts behind the data are applicable across the board to pretty much any Mac.

You can find the article—and a whole lot more great performance upgrade information—at the Mac Performance Guide.


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  • I think about 30%, easily. Real world use (working, closing lid, computer sleeping, working, getting up) would barely let me reach early afternoon on a single charge–assuming I started working about 8:00am.

    I can go, with real world use, through a full day of use. I’ve been using computers for about 28 years and this is the most remarkable effect from an upgrade (ram and SSD) on an existing computer that I have observed. This computer responded exceedingly well.




  • Great article and timely. Last week, I upgraded my 2009 MacBook Pro ram to eight gig from four, and replaced the hard drive with an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD 240 gig, uh, drive.

    The speed for nearly everything is simply stunning. But, no one has really mentioned battery life. The improved battery life is remarkable and the computer runs soooo much cooler.

    I think in all the years I have been involved with computers, this upgrade has been the most amazing.




  • Great article and I love the concept of an SSD RAID-1 for the boot volume.

    Any idea if this could be achieved using a Late 2005 2.3 Dual-Core PowerMac G5 and a Sonnet G5 Jive Drive assembly?

    I’d love to attach 2 x SSD REs and a 1-2TB HDD to the G5 Jive Drive, and set the SSD REs up as a RAID-1 to handle the OS and Apps, with the 2TB HDD for Data.

    I’ve got 16GB (max) in the machine now, and woner what performance gains I might expect with such a setup.